Ypsilanti Equity Elevator


The Ypsilanti Equity Elevator was organized in 1917. The Board of Directors were:

  • President: A.O. Anderson
  • Vice President: N.G. Mellum
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Owen E. Madden, Sr.
  • Directors: Albert Bohn, J.S. DeVries, Peter Hogden, and William Haskell

The company was organized by a group of farmers shortly before the United States entered World War I. The purpose was to develop a cooperation plan, whereby farmers could become stockholders through dividends obtained by doing business with the elevator. The original capital was less than $5,000.

At the time that the business was organized, a majority of the farmers made their livings entirely through the raising of grain and livestock.

In July of 1918, the elevator added lumber through the Union Lumber Company of Fargo, North Dakota.

A.W. Evans was hired as the first manager, and he operated the elevator until 1923, when he was injured and subsequently died as a result of his injuries. His brother, Elmer L. Evans, became manager in 1924, assisted by his wife, Myrtle, who worked in the office.

In August, 1930, the bulk oil business was added, after which they joined the Skelly Oil Company, with George Mellum as manager.

In 1937-38, Art Whitney, Chan Whitney, and Jim Davis dug the basement to be used as the elevator office. This took three days, for which each person earned $6. In addition, they earch furnished a team of horses.

In July of 1939, the company bought the Gibson Elevator.

In July of 1963, Elmer Evans resigned, after which Ardell Bergrud was hired as manager.

In March of 1964, the company purchased the Peavey Elevator in Montpelier, North Dakota.

In March of 1972, Dennis Jacobson was hired as manager.


In January of 1973, an anhydrous ammonia plant was added.

In January of 1975, Richard Christianson was hired as manager, and Robert Whitney was hired as assistant manager. Marvin Kuntz was an employee, Robert Jorgenson was the manager of the oil department, and Harold Boughton was an oil truck driver.

Bookkeepers who have been employed by the Ypsilanti Equity Elevator, up until 1982, have included Myrtle Evans, Violet Erickson, Karen Lureen, and Josephine Willey.

In 1976, a 900-ton fertilizer blending plant was built.

In 1977, a 175,000-bushel grain storage facility was built where the old bulk petroleum plant had been located.

In 1981, the company purchased the former Vaught Hardware business, with employees, Lorraine Wibstad, Elva Schultz, and Dennis Kastet.

In 1982, the board of directors were:

  • President: Oliver Graves
  • Vice President: Ken Gehlhar
  • Secretary: Perry Roorda
  • Directors: Harold Beckman, Nels Lien, Donald Olson, and Robert Klose.